The mission of the Institute is to promote translational research for the objective of elucidating the pathogenesis of chronic incurable neurodegenerative disorders and developing novel therapies. Current emphasis by Institute investigators include Parkinson’s disease (PD) and other alpha-synucleinopathies, as well as Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
Specific goals in PD include the conduct of basic research in the molecular pathogenesis of the disease with a focus on genetic contributions and protein misfolding in neuronal cell death, the identification of targets for therapeutic interventions, discovery of small molecules and biologics, and testing them in animal models of disease. In addition to disease modification, investigations in the discovery and development of improved therapies for complications of chronic L-dopa therapy are also ongoing. Knowledge gained from these preclinical studies can be translated to clinical trials.
In MS, research projects focus on immunopathogenesis using animal models, mechanisms of action of MS therapies, and identification of biomarkers of treatment response. The role of the gut microbiome in disease pathogenesis is also actively being investigated.
The Institute also includes faculty investigators engaged in clinical research and trials in neurological disorders including movement disorders, multiple sclerosis, stroke, epilepsy, and neuromuscular diseases.
The educational goals of the Institute are to provide an environment for training graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and physician scientists in translational research in neurological therapeutics. Undergraduates, medical students, and neurology residents or trainees from other departments who wish to explore research opportunities in neurologic diseases also rotate through Institute laboratories.